Day 117: Washington Trail Magic

August 12, 2017

Total daily miles: 28.3 miles

Total PCT miles: 1819.6

Start:  Green Lake (mile 2198.1)

End: mile 2226.5

Total elevation gain/loss: 4021.7/4432.1 ft

Just as I was falling asleep last night, I was woken by the light pitter patter of rain droplets.  Then flashes of light and the rumble of thunder.  I quickly closed my vestibule and went back to sleep.  I was pleasantly surprised to wake up this morning to find that the rain was over and my tent was nice and dry.  Yay for minor miracles!

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Green Lake first thing in the morning.

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The trail felt both oddly busy and empty this morning.  I saw lots of day/weekend hikers, but few thru hikers.  I chatted for awhile with a couple planning to hike the JMT in a couple of weeks.  The conversation brought back many memories of my JMT hike and made me excited about returning to California to finish up in the Sierra!

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I’ve been surprised at how many dry stretches we’ve encountered so far in Washington.  Nothing major, but it seems like every day we have at least one 10-mile dry stretch (often with lots of lakes in between).  It reminds me a lot of Southern California — yes, there were a lot of longer dry stretches there, but most of the time there was water every 10 miles.  We pushed off getting water this morning until the last possible source, a small lake just downhill from the trail.  Some people might not have been pleased with the water source, but I’ve found that I have pretty low standards these days if it means that I don’t have to carry more weight.  That’s what filtering is for!  The bugs were pretty bad there and I resorted to applying DEET.  Just when I thought we were done with bugs!

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A peek at Mt. Adams.

 

I pushed a little later than usual to have lunch because I knew that we were approaching a road/trail head parking area.  Comments on Guthooks mentioned it was a great spot for trail magic, and given our history of stopping for lunch just before trail magic I wanted to take all necessary precautions.  Alas, all we found was a decent patch of shade to sit and eat along the dusty road.  I was able to get rid of the soda cans that we’d been carrying since yesterday with a a couple that was camped out nearby in their RV.  It’s not the weight that I was really concerned about, but rather the sharp, pointy edges that were created when we crushed the cans.  I didn’t want to end up with any holes in my backpack!

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These guys are so hard to photograph — they never stop moving!

Within an hour of stopping for lunch, we crossed another road.  And, as if to prove a point, there was a sign advertising trail magic at a camp spot just down the road!  I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw the sign — our streak continues!  We went over to the camp spot and met Geared Up.  He’s done several thru-hikes, but his plans this year fell through so instead he came out to provide awesome taco trail magic.  His set-up was great!  Lots of taco fillings to choose from, as well as beer and soda.  Even though I’d just eaten, I couldn’t say no to a lovely beef taco and a cold soda!  While eating our second lunch, we had a nice chat with Hot Thumbs (who we’d last seen a couple days ago) and Geared Up.  It’s nice to get a more extended opportunity to chat with other hikers since it seems like we’re currently in a sobo bubble (so most interactions are fairly short and are a one-time deal).

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Thank you Geared Up!

The rest of the afternoon was fairly uneventful — more green tunnel!  On the bright side, other than a short climb near the end of the day, the trail really flattened out today.  It’s a relief after the big, sweaty climbs that we’ve had the last few days.  The tree cover and easier trail really gave me the opportunity to stick my headphones in and zone out a bit while we tried to put in some bigger miles today.  Near the end of the day, we crossed the access road to Trout Lake.  It sounds like a lot of people are planning on going into Trout Lake to resupply.  It didn’t look like the easiest hitch (but maybe it’s the kind where every vehicle stops?), so given our current time constraints it was nice to know that we had packed enough food to continue straight to White Pass.

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Road crossings = windows for views in the middle of the green tunnel.

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We had planned to stop to camp just after the road to Trout Lake.  The area was still close to the road (which I prefer not to camp near), but we’d already gone more than 28 miles and I wasn’t really interested in pushing for more mileage today.  When I got to the spot, I noticed a vehicle parked there and a couple of tents already set up.  It took me a moment to realize that it was Bubbles and Pooparrazi!  I’d just assumed that since there was a vehicle it couldn’t be thru-hikers.  As it turns out, Pooparrazi’s girlfriend had come up to meet them and had brought lots of food and beer!  I claimed an open camping spot a ways away and then plopped down to drink beer and eat dinner with Bubbles and Pooparrazi — I love those guys!  We hadn’t seen them since Shelter Cove, so it was great to catch up a bit on how their hike was going.  We were soon joined by Hot Thumbs and another couple, so it ended up being a pretty full crowd.  In typical thru-hiker style though, as it started to get dark we all headed back to our tents to be in bed by hiker midnight (9pm).

What a great day.  The scenery may not have been the most exciting today, but the friends and trail magic really made up for it!

Current ailments:

Elizabeth: sore left shoulder

Michael: sore something. It has been a while. I don’t remember exactly.

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